Python includes a uudecode and uuencode module (accessible via "import uu"), but the module only supports base32 uudecoding, and not base64. I needed base64. Although I have posted an official patch to the python2.4 library, python had already moved on to a later version. Here is my patch for python2.5 uu.py to make it able to decode and intrepret base64 data. Encoding in base64 is probably pretty easy too, but I don't need it and have not bothers. I encourage somebody to add it.
One problem in applying this patch, especially from a web page, is that the white space versus tabs might not match. The - l flag (that's a lower case L) tells patch to ignore white space, but since python is senseitve to white space, you might have to adjust things manually.
Also note that on OS X, the uu.py module can be found at
The patch file (input for patch -l) is as follows:
--- uu.py.orig 2007-08-25 23:42:35.000000000 -0400
+++ uu.py 2007-08-26 11:42:54.000000000 -0400
@@ -18,6 +18,9 @@
# ACTION OF CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER TORTIOUS ACTION, ARISING OUT
# OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OR PERFORMANCE OF THIS SOFTWARE.
+# Modified by Gregory Dudek, April 2008:
+# - added support for decoding of base64 uuencoded files.
# Modified by Jack Jansen, CWI, July 1995:
# - Use binascii module to do the actual line-by-line conversion
# between ascii and binary. This results in a 1000-fold speedup. The C
@@ -81,7 +84,7 @@
-def decode(in_file, out_file=None, mode=None, quiet=0):
+def decode(in_file, out_file=None, mode=None, quiet=0, base64=0):
"""Decode uuencoded file"""
# Open the input file, if needed.
@@ -100,9 +103,10 @@
if hdr[:5] != 'begin':
hdrfields = hdr.split(" ", 2)
- if len(hdrfields) == 3 and hdrfields == 'begin':
+ if len(hdrfields) == 3 and (hdrfields == 'begin' or hdrfields == 'begin-base64'):
+ if hdrfields == 'begin-base64': base64=1
@@ -130,11 +134,13 @@
s = in_file.readline()
while s and s.strip() != 'end':
- data = binascii.a2b_uu(s)
+ if base64: data = binascii.a2b_base64(s)
+ else: data = binascii.a2b_uu(s)
except binascii.Error, v:
# Workaround for broken uuencoders by /Fredrik Lundh
nbytes = (((ord(s)-32) & 63) * 4 + 5) / 3
- data = binascii.a2b_uu(s[:nbytes])
+ if base64: data = binascii.a2b_base64(s[:nbytes])
+ else: data = binascii.a2b_uu(s[:nbytes])
if not quiet:
sys.stderr.write("Warning: %s\n" % str(v))